Feb 28, 2019

Elopement Resources

Elopements – this old yet new way of tying the knot with the person you love most. To many, elopements are outdated and involve Las Vegas and an officiant that looks like Elvis…to others, they are secretive and require rejecting family and friends.

To me? They are neither. Elopements serve a very necessary percentage of couples who just don’t want the fuss, or the debt, or the giant and overwhelming to-do list. Elopements are beautiful and peaceful and give you the opportunity as a couple to focus on what matters most: each other.

So let’s talk about this…what is an elopement?? What defines an elopement vs. an intimate/small wedding, vs. a “traditional” wedding? AH, HELP! Many of my couples come to me curious about how I define what they want – and it’s imperative that you know: it doesn’t matter to me, as long as you’re happy.

Let’s break this down, though, shall we?


Yes, ‘elope’ has historically meant “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent.” But it has also meant—and still means—”to escape.”

I love this quote I found on Merriam-Webster’s website, because it’s exactly how I feel!

“True” elopements involve 2 people, an officiant and a witness. And they’re great. But – when the shift happened a few years ago within the wedding industry where all of the sudden, people were eloping left and right – and with that, came educating people on a “new” way of getting hitched. Over the last few years, I think many in the industry of weddings have stopped trying to define elopements as just two people because teaching people what an intimate wedding and elopement is and how they are different, can get really exhausting. However, if you really wanna know what we consider as what, here you go:

Elopements: under 10 guests
Intimate Weddings: Under 50 guests
Small Weddings: Under 80 guests
Traditional Weddings 80+ guests

Now…lets talk “traditions” within elopements. Many think that when they elope they are saying goodbye to tradition altogether – and that is not true! Elopements allow you to make new traditions, or interpret old traditions, your own way. For example: I had a sunrise wedding, followed by breakfast with family. And because of that, I chose to have a pancake cake for our “cake” to cut, because that was the only tradition I cared to keep. It made me smile, and people still go “omg! You had a pancake cake? What an awesome way to make a tradition your own!”

Elopements allow you to do just that: make traditions your own.

If you want to wear something borrowed and something blue still, be my guest. The sky is the limit and you are open to choosing whichever traditions you like to create and pass on.

I’ve never been one to follow the leader, and my elopement proved that, ha! And if you’re thinking about eloping, I’m guessing you’re in a similar boat.

Now that we’ve addressed the top 2 questions people have when it comes to elopements, let’s break down the less-frequently-asked-questions, too.

If we tell people, are we still eloping?

I love this question, because I announced it on facebook. I told the whole world what we were doing, because I didn’t want people breathing down my neck asking for details. You can tell people, or you can hold it in – but either way, as long as it makes you happy, it doesn’t matter what you do.

Does an elopement have to be in a church?

Psh, heck no! It can be wherever you darn well please. If a church is that place, awesome. If Mt. Whitney is that place, cool.

Can we plan an elopement and have it still “count”?

Similar to the first question, YES. We planned ours in advance, and most of my couples do too. The point is that you’re escaping the usual rituals of guest lists, seating charts and centerpieces. Meh, no thanks.

How much cheaper is an elopement?

Elopements are cheaper due to the fact that you’re not inviting 150 people…but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the vendors you do work with. Most of my couples hire a photographer, an officiant, a hair and makeup artist, and a florist. Though you don’t need all of these vendors, be sure to remember that you get what you pay for in all of them.

Now that you know what an elopement is defined as, ready to dive in more? Subscribe to The Elopement Podcast here and get all the deets to plan your own dream day.



Ruthanne is an Elopement Photographer & Expert based in Lake Tahoe, California. She specializes in elopements inspired by the beautify and elegance of the High Sierra mountains, but you can find her all over the west at any time. She lives in Truckee, California where she was born & raised, with her husband Demetri & Australian Shepherd, Sasha. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *